Constructing a Legend: The International Exhibitions of Finnish Architecture 1957–1967 studies the use of architectural photography in branding modern Finnish architecture in the 1960s. Petra Ćeferin focuses the early years of the Museum of Finnish Architecture and the museum’s exhibition policy in its international exhibitions between 1957 and 1967.
Since its publication in 2005, Constructing a Legend has been a primary source on the history of architectural exhibitions, theory of architectural photography and the historiography of Finnish modernism. According to Ćeferin, the carefully crafted exhibitions produced the newly established Museum of Finnish Architecture created a rich story of Finnish architecture and mystical “Finnishness”.
Why do we talk about Finnish architecture the way we do? Why does it appear so easy to recognise its central features in the buildings designed by Finnish architects? And why it is so difficult to describe them in a way that does not correspond with what we know as Finnish architecture?
The book offers an outstanding, critical perspective to the first 10 years of the unique institution. Ćeferin examines the role of curators, photographers and architects in the image-making process. She discusses the Museum’s exhibition projects as an example of a conscious media strategy and conceives the making of international exhibitions as the making of a legend, “a rich story handed down from the past”.